Skip to main content

Galactic Hearts of Glass

Item Preview

image
Galactic Hearts of Glass


Publication date 0000
This artist's concept shows the violent core of a pair of colliding galaxies and the delicate greenish crystals that are sprinkled throughout the core. The white spots represent a thriving population of stars of all sizes and ages. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope detected more than 20 bright and dusty galactic mergers like the one depicted here, all teeming with the tiny gem-like crystals. When galaxies collide, they trigger the birth of large numbers of massive stars. Astronomers believe these blazing hot stars act like furnaces to produce silicate crystals in the same way that glass is made from sand. The stars probably shed the crystals as they age, and as they blow apart in supernovae explosions. At the same time the crystals are being churned out, they are also being destroyed. Fast-moving particles from supernova blasts easily convert silicates crystals back to their amorphous, or shapeless, form. How is Spitzer seeing the crystals if they are rapidly disappearing? Astronomers say that, for a short period of time at the beginning of galactic mergers, massive stars might be producing silicate crystals faster than they are eliminating them. When our own galaxy merges with the Andromeda galaxy in a few billion years, a similar burst of massive stars and silicate crystals might occur.

comment
Reviews

There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write a review.
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)
image
eye 36
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2006-18b
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/D. Block (Anglo American Cosmic Dust Lab, SA)
image
eye 23
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=sig06-025
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
image
eye 33
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2007-13d
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
image
eye 31
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2005-26b
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
movies
eye 175
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2007-05v1
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
movies
eye 215
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2005-06v1
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
image
eye 39
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=sig05-027
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
image
eye 37
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2005-21b
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
movies
eye 307
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2005-10v1
NASA Images
by NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
image
eye 27
favorite 0
comment 0
Source: http://sscws1.ipac.caltech.edu/Imagegallery/image.php?image_name=ssc2004-17a